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    083415

    Beyond "vasectomies for groceries": a rejoinder to Joseph Fletcher.

    Bello W

    FOCUS. 1993; 3(2):43, 47-50.

    Rebuttal is made to a theory that developed countries should not provide famine relief to countries whose population size has exceeded their carrying capacity and that developing countries must also accept contraceptives and encourage vasectomies to receive development aid. This view is based on assumptions and arguments that more than 10 years of research, analysis, and informed debate have made anachronistic. 20% of the world's population who live in developed countries consume 80% of the Earth's resources. At present levels of consumption and waste, the 57 million people born in developed countries in the 1990s. Japan has few natural resources and limited agricultural capacity and, thus, has already exceed its carrying capacity. Still it has one of the world's highest standards of living and a high degree of ecological stability. Japan has displaced its resources and environment costs to less wealthy and less powerful countries. Japan's demand for tropical woods, for example, is responsible for rapid deforestation in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. It exports its industrial pollution to developing countries, largely by relocating pollution intensive heavy and chemical industries to other Asian countries. Population growth is not the leading reason for the famines in the Sahel. Global climactic change, conflict between the superpowers in the Horn of Africa, and export agriculture (e.g. during the 1984-1985 famine, Ethiopia exported green beans to England) contributed greatly to these famines. To reduce fertility rates, society must work to raise living standards, cultivate equality, and people's control over their lives, and improve women's status. Sri Lanka, China, and the Indian state of Kerala are examples of how political commitment to social welfare, including a commitment to increasing women's status, contributed to sizable reductions in population growth despite only moderate levels of per capita income.
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